leopard gecko taming, handling leopard gecko

3 ways to handle a nervous leopard gecko

Anyone who has owned a young leopard gecko will know that they can be EXTREMELY skittish, and these little lizards can move pretty quickly!

Before buying them, I was terrified that they’d run away and get lost down the side of the sofa, or jump out of my hands and hide under some difficult-to-move furniture.

However even my most anxious leopard gecko is fairly easy to handle for extended periods of time using some of the below hacks, and using these tips should give you, as an owner, more peace of mind when you want to play with them.

Hack #1 – smooth sided tub – for the most nervous geckos

This is absolutely the best thing I can recommend for very young and very flighty leopard geckos.

As leopard geckos can’t climb smooth surfaces, this is perfect to have on your lap while holding your gecko, because if they try to jump or start moving too quickly, they will fall into the tub and be easy to catch again.

Even now, I have the tub beside me almost all the time, just in case. I also hold the tub under them as I’m carrying them around, because I don’t want any sudden movements to spook my leos and make them fall from a big height onto the floor.

They are so cheap too, I picked up two cheap ones from a local store, and a quick search on Amazon brings up plenty of good options.

Hack 2 – blanket den – for geckos you kind of trust

Nearly every time I handle my geckos, I make a blanket den for them. I make sure that I cover any crevices so my geckos won’t try and bury themselves down behind my sofa seat cushions, and I also put cushions under the blankets so that it’s steep around the edges, as crawling uphill is most likely to slow them down.

I think you have to be fairly trusting of your gecko to use this method on it’s own, which is why I always have a tub next to me, just in case I need to rapidly catch them. However I do think it’s good to let my leos have a little wander around to explore, and this gives me extra confidence that I won’t lose them.

It’s also nice for the geckos to have little loose folds in the fabric which they can hide in, as this clearly makes them feel nice and safe. This leads me onto my third and final hack which has made the entire handling experience much less stressful for both myself and my geckos…

Hack #3 – fabric hide – for geckos you can usually trust 

leopard gecko care

As leopard geckos are prey in the wild, they will instinctively seek places to hide under, but it’s not convenient to have a hard hide out when you just want to relax and watch TV with your scaled companion.

This is why my fabric hide has absolutely revolutionized my gecko play time. I can provide them with a safe space to sit while they are out of their vivariums, and this has resulted in much calmer geckos, and a much calmer owner.

I came across this idea on an Instagram account I follow @custom.reptile.homes, and she sells these fantastic pyramid-shaped hides (and also many other cool reptile things!) on Etsy.

How do you handle your skittish geckos? Leave any other hacks in the comments section!




  1. I got a baby gecko about a week ago. He’s pretty anxious and he does bite.
    That being said, he is now generally pretty relaxed around me and reacts to the sound I make/his name.
    However, he will not climb on my hand. He either goes in his hide or bites my finger.
    My tank unfortunately opens from the top, so I will usually slowly put my hand in on the opposite side of him and just rest it there.
    As I said, he seems really relaxed around me so I don’t think he sees me as a threat.
    Any tips on how to tame him?


    1. If he’s young then his patterns will develop over time, and towards his shed you may notice him going more pale, but you also may not notice as they tend to hide and be very secretive.

      Regarding handling and taming… I’ve got a category on my blog for this. All my tips I’ve written on there 🙂 good luck with him! X


      1. If anyone know why my gecko will come out of the hide , but it’s more skittish of me now . I’ve held it before and it doesn’t act scared when I feed it . But I will run back to its hide with the slightest wrong move . I would hate to think it will always remain scares of me .


    2. Hold him a little bit every day. Eventually he will start feeling safe with you. Also their bite is not very hard. It’s more just startling.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. My gecko used to be really scared of me too. I think just give it time and be consistant. Soon he will feel more comfortable and be less scared to be handled. My gecko personally isn’t a fan of being on my hand, but loves sleeping on my shoulders. It really just depends on the gecko so try to figure out what he likes and use that to your benefit.


    4. you’re doing very well with being around his tank so he knows you’re not a threat, wht they dont like is that when they are in there hide, they like their privacy so dont expose them from the lid or even lift the hide to see what under. Let him/her come out when it feels comfortable enough to walk on you 🙂 it helps being around the tank a lot so it can get familiar with you. never grab gecko from above or it will think you’re a bird trying to catch him. just leave your hand down on the floor of the tank and let him/her walk on you, if its not ready, it wont walk on you and thats okay!! its takes patience and time to have your leopord gecko be your friend 🙂


  2. Thank you so much. This has helped me with my leo so much since I got him.He is only 3 months, skittish and is hard to handle, these ideas are so helpful!


      1. Hi, I am just wandering, my gecko is awful at hunting, he will miss mealworms, it takes him about 15 tries before he catches one. He is 1 and a 1/2 years old and help would be appreciated, thanks.


  3. Thank you so much for all these different ideas. I got mine 2 months ago and i guess you could say he’s use to me now, and he is still a juvenile so his very skittish. One thing i did do was take him out and then he got away! yea it did not work, he was pretty chill when i took him out but when i put him on the floor, we went under my dresser and stayed there for over an hour! So i took his humid hide and wait for him to come inside and i quickly put the hide inside the tank! And now i don’t trust my self, every time i try to tame him he climbs my hands super quick but i don’t want him to get away so yea:(


    1. I’m really glad these ideas have helped you! Unfortunately for us, leopard geckos just want to seek shelter and will run away in order to get it. I never let mine run around the room because I am certain I’ll never get them back 😊 these techniques all really work for me!


  4. every time I try to hold my lizard/aka Luna she wont come to me but when I come to he she attempts to bite me. I’ve tried the food in hand but still does not work. all I know is when we got her she was a baby and is still pretty young and just doesn’t trust me. do you know if there is some way to help me and Luna


  5. Two days ago, I took my leopard with me on a two week vacation with my dad’s. It was an eight hours drive, and there was so much going on- my Leo Eli is so anxious that he’s spending most of the time in his hides now- I can’t even use my tongs anymore- idk is there any way to help him calm somewhat down? I don’t want him dying out of stress.


    1. Hi, I am just wandering, my gecko is awful at hunting, he will miss mealworms, it takes him about 15 tries before he catches one. He is 1 and a 1/2 years old and help would be appreciated, thanks.


      1. As long as he’s catching them eventually and is eating, I think you’re ok. Most leopard geckos, mine included, are so bad at hunting (just take a look at my Instagram and you’ll see the videos!).
        Some insects are more difficult for your geckos to catch than others too.
        I feed my geckos morioworms with feeding tongs, which means the insect doesn’t get away from them!


  6. Hi, I am just wandering, my gecko is awful at hunting, he will miss mealworms, it takes him about 15 tries before he catches one. He is 1 and a 1/2 years old and help would be appreciated, thanks.


  7. Hi , thanks so much! I was a bit worried but if bad hunting is quite I common I will not worry anymore. Is morio worms suitable for 1 and a half year old geckos, and if so, where from? I’m in Devon so need shops there.


    1. I’m in England too 😊I get my worms either from Pets at Home or eBay – today I bought some from the eBay seller called “livefoodsdirectltd” but there are a few other good sellers too – hope this helps!


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